Florida Man Arrested on Biological Weapons
Robert K. Cromwell, Special Agent in Charge of the Jacksonville
Division of the FBI, announced the arrest on Wednesday, January
12, of Steven Michael Ekberg, 22, of Ocala, Florida.
arrested without incident at approximately 7:00 p.m. Wednesday
at his home in the 7600 block of SW 10th Street, Ocala. He was
charged with possession of a biological agent in a complaint filed
in U.S. District Court in Ocala earlier Wednesday afternoon. His
initial appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon
at the U.S. Courthouse in Ocala.
is the result of an investigation that began late last week and
was conducted jointly by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
(FDLE), the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI. During
the course of the investigation, a search was conducted of Ekberg’s
residence. Inside the residence, agents and officers discovered
substances that later tested positive for the presence of ricin,
a lethal toxin derived from the castor bean. Personnel from the
FBI’s Tampa Field Office and the FBI Laboratory in Virginia, who
are specially trained in hazardous materials response, conducted
a sweep of the residence Wednesday evening, ensuring that all
biological agents had been removed and that there was no danger
to the surrounding community.
investigation is continuing, there is currently no known link
between Ekberg and any groups or organizations having terrorist
or extremist ideologies.
Ekberg faces criminal penalties that include up to 10 years to
life in prison. As always, however, a criminal complaint is simply
a formal charge. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until
proven guilty in court.